Portlanders aren't just driving too fast on empty streets. Some are doing doughnuts atop the Fremont Bridge.
Videos circulated widely on social media today show a group of street racers blocking off the upper deck of the bridge Sunday evening and burning rubber some 200 feet above the Willamette River.
The Portland Police Bureau confirms that officers responded around 8:15 pm Sunday to numerous calls reporting drivers blocking the Fremont Bridge's southbound upper deck for racing, but reported the group left when police arrived. Sgt. Kevin Allen's statement indicated the bureau took several calls about street racing, mostly in North and Northeast Portland, for a few hours after their response at the Fremont Bridge.
The police statement comes after WW reached out to the bureau seeking comment. FOX 12 Oregon first reported the story.
FOX 12 and KGW photojournalist Eric Patterson shared footage from a widely circulated, now-deleted Facebook video depicting cars doing doughnuts—that is, skidding in circles at high speeds—on the upper deck as mostly young men record drivers on their phones.
Motorists caught in traffic atop the bridge Sunday shared their accounts on social media.
"I was just getting onto the bridge when all these cars started blowing past me and cutting me and other drivers off. They were also driving down both shoulders of the bridge," Jennifer Hughes told WW. "I didn't see any of the illegal doughnuts they were doing, but I was surrounded by a huge group that were hanging out their windows, sunroofs, and standing on top of cars. I knew exactly what was about to happen once I saw all the cars speeding in and out of regular traffic."
Twitter user Mair Blatt posted footage taken by her neighbor, Michael Douglass, from below the Fremont Bridge. Douglass shared his footage with WW, which appears to take place after FOX's footage. Car engines are plainly audible, with smoke rising and lights drifting across the upper deck. While Douglass' vantage point is far from the bridge, people can be seen running near its northern upper guard rail.
Street racing has been a well-documented practice on the Fremont Bridge in recent years. But this is the first reported instance since Gov. Kate Brown issued a stay-home order in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, clearing highways of traffic.
None of the people depicted appears to follow social distancing guidelines.